Treatment of Restless legs syndrome

Non-pharmacological treatments

For patients with mild symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome, a non-pharmacological approach will be preferred to avoid the side effects of drugs, especially for the elders or children.

– People must start having a regular sleep schedule and practice healthy sleep habits.
– Light to moderate physical activities (e.g. stretching exercises) just before bedtime
– Leg massage
– Hot or cold baths
– Mental activities may be useful for off-centering to something other than the symptoms.

On the other hand, sedentary activities such as movies or long journeys will be preferable in the morning, while activities such as walking, housework or physical activity can reduce the symptoms of RLS when done at the end of the day.

Some over-the-counter medications can make restless legs syndrome worse. It can be good to stop them with the doctor’s supervision. This is the case among other dopamine blocking substance: narcoleptics, anti-nausea and especially antihistamines that make sleepy.

Pharmacological treatments

The medications that will be prescribed for someone with Restless Leg Syndrome will only relieve the SJR’s sensimotor symptoms and sleep disturbances. They are not used to heal RLS.

However, if restless legs syndrome is triggered by a disease, then treatments will be used to treat or relieve the disease in question, as is the case for kidney failure or iron deficiency.

The pharmacological treatment of SJRS can be done with the following molecules:
– Supplementation with iron, magnesium and vitamin C, sometimes intravenously.
– Dopaminergic agents (dopamine precursors, or dopamine receptor agonists)
– Opiates
– Anticonvulsants
– Non-barbiturate hypnotic sedatives

* Dopamine agonists are drugs that will act directly on dopamine receptors. By imitating the action of the latter, these drugs are somehow “believe” in the brain cells that they are in the presence of a larger amount of dopamine. Generally, this medicine is used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease.